The Colonial Problem: An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada

Prof Lisa Monchalin
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Balliol College
Broad Street
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Lectures and seminars
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Indigenous peoples are vastly overrepresented in the Canadian criminal justice system. This development is not new. It has been well documented for decades. The Canadian government has framed this disproportionate victimization and criminalization as being an "Indian problem." It is argued that crimes and injustices affecting Indigenous peoples must be understood within the context of Canada’s shameful history, and the unchanged colonial goals of original forefathers—those which attempt to silence voices, histories, and cultures of Indigenous peoples—and continue and uphold racism, and patriarchy. These ideas and misrepresentations have permeated institutions, infused today’s value systems, and have become embedded in western media and culture. The consequences of assimilation policies, dishonoured treaty agreements, manipulative legislation, the sexualization of Indigenous women, and systematic racism are analyzed, arguing that the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian criminal justice system is not an Indian problem but a colonial one.